The largest railways in the world, the Indian Railways, reported earnings in November at Rs. 1706 crore (USD 370 million) and an increase of 22% from last year due to better freight and passenger capacity utilization. However, former Railways Minister and current Bihar Chief Minister disputed these numbers and cast aspersions on the credibility of this data.
However, Railway's plan to invite private participation received friendly fire from the Industry Minister who questioned legality of this plan since the Industries (Development And Regulation) Act, 1951 forbids private participation in freight and passenger business. Furthermore, because of this law, foreign investments cannot be incorporated.
The Railways wanted to invite private players in freight handling and container services and had given licenses to 14 companies and raised Rs. 540 crore (USD 117 million) in fees. Along with major Indian players, South Korean steel giant Posco also signed an agreement for building a railway line in Orissa. Railways had expected an external investment of Rs. 2000 crore (USD 434) from many of these players in terms of manufacture of wagons and terminals. Seeing major revenue opportunities, the Railways had wanted to even build a dedicated freight line. As part of this plan, private operators would run container trains in competition with the state-owned Container Corporation of India (CONCOR).
Other than railways, the industrial policy statement of 1991 bars 7 sectors including atomic energy, defense, and minerals.